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2024-02-15, 06:06

Stadler: Construction of the "Las Vegas Polymer Centre" - Recycling of bottles, canisters and other containers - Cooperation with Krones

Republic Services plastic recycling plant in Las Vegas, Nevada - (Image: courtesy of Republic Services).
Stadler Anlagenbau GmbH has developed and built the new "Polymer Centre" of Republic Services in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, in cooperation with Krones. In this polymer recycling centre, bottles, canisters and other plastic containers are processed into ready-to-use plastic materials for new packaging.

Republic Services, an American environmental services company, has opened a new plastics recycling centre in North America. It produces recycled material that is used to produce sustainable packaging. Krones worked with Stadler as the general contractor for the new Polymer Centre in Las Vegas, with Stadler responsible for the mechanical sorting of the PET and PO lines. More than 50,000 tonnes of recyclates are to be produced annually in the new plant and fed back into the material cycle.

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The new polymer recycling centre will process pre-sorted plastics collected by Republic Services throughout the western United States into PET and polyolefins (PO). PET is processed into recycled PET flakes (rPET), which are used to make new bottles. The recovered polyolefins can be used directly to make new bottles, canisters and containers.

"The polymer recycling centre is the first facility of its kind in North America," says Pete Keller, Vice President, Recycling and Sustainability at Republic Services. "It's the first time a single US company has managed the entire plastics recycling stream, from waste collection to the production of high-quality recycled raw materials that can be used directly in the production of sustainable packaging."

The Polymer Center in Las Vegas sorts and processes the material delivered in bales on two lines: one for PET and one for mixed plastics, both with a capacity of five tonnes per hour. "This is the largest plastics recycling plant with two lines in the USA," says Mat Everhart, CEO of Stadler America LLC (a subsidiary of Stadler Anlagenbau GmbH). It is expected to return 500,000 tonnes of plastic per year to the material cycle by producing high-quality, food-grade recycled material for direct use in packaging.

The material fed into the PET line is first mechanically sorted. Ferrous parts are then removed from the sorted material. A ballistic separator STT2000 from Stadler then separates the material into rolling (3D), flat (2D) and fine fractions.

These fractions pass through a sensor-supported sorting process with near-infrared (NIR) sorters. Caps, rings and the 2D fractions are forwarded to presses, the 3D fractions to a Stadler delabeller, which removes the labels. Colourless PET, caps and rings are fed to the Krones washing system, which granulates and cleans the material, while coloured PET is pressed into bales.

In the processing line for mixed plastics, the input material is sorted into fine fractions and screen overflow - the latter is additionally separated into light and heavy fractions. The heavy fraction of mixed plastics is sorted into four polyethylene (PE) groups - natural colour, white, red/orange, other colours - and two polypropylene (PP) groups - natural colour/white and other colours.

PET is sorted out of the remaining material and fed into the PET line. The products from the mixed plastics line are fed into storage bunkers, where a semi-automatic feeding programme ensures that the material is fed to the baling presses according to type.

Republic Services is planning to build three more polymer recycling centres to close the gap between supply and the rapidly growing demand for recycled plastics.

More information: w-stadler.de, www.krones.com, www.republicservices.com

Stadler Anlagenbau GmbH, Altshausen, Germany


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